How will Essex Senators handle Alagia nomination?

It will be interesting to see how some of the Essex County Senators handle Gov. Jon Corzine’s expected nomination of Phil Alagia, one of the state’s most talented Democratic operatives, to a seat on the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors. Alagia is the Chief of Staff to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and a close ally of Newark Democratic leader Stephen Adubato; those alliances could make it difficult for Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) to sign off on Alagia’s nomination.

Outside of the Adubato world, Alagia has lots of friends — especially in South Jersey — who won’t like it if his nomination gets blocked.

It will also be fascinating to see if State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove), the Essex County Republican Chairman and a politically ally of Adubato, signs off on Alagia. Gov.-elect Christopher Christie wants to curtail lame duck appointments, and O’Toole’s support would mean that Christie will lose an appointment to the Blue Cross Blue Shield board that could have gone to a Republican.

Corzine is going to name Alagia, who served as political director of his re-election campaign, in place of his original choice, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey President Daniel Humberto Jara. Jara was pulled after a miserable performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last June.